Tampa Puerto Ricans watch, worry as Maria hurtles towards U.S. territory

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Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans in the Bay Area are watching with fear as Hurricane Maria hurtles towards the U.S. territory.

"Their plan is to stay where they are and hope for the best," said Mercey Durden, of her family in Puerto Rico.

That means a two-story house made of cement, thankfully, but in an area near where landfall is expected.

"They can't get out," said Durden. "Unless you had a flight already booked in advance, there's no way."

Puerto Rican authorities have warned that the storm could knock out power, water, and supply routes.

"I know it is going to be rough for them for maybe months because Puerto Rico is very poor right now," said Durden.

Puerto Rican culture is very much alive in Tampa, where 25,000 Puerto Ricans, like Nilsa Garcia, call home.

"We are very close, very very close," said Garcia.

Garcia runs a restaurant near Busch Gardens and has her own list of relatives in Puerto Rico.

"She calls me crying all the time, she doesn't know what to do," said Garcia.

She says they are praying and sheltering in churches.

"It is the aftermath that is scary," said Garcia. "No electricity or water for six months, and no food. It was like that for Irma, imagine now."

And prayer is most certainly happening here as well.

"I ask God to hold them together, bless them and protect them," said Garcia.